No cartoon (political or otherwise) has ever left me as perplexed as this recent effort by Scott Stantis of the Birmingham Daily News, in which a fetus decides not to attend a celebratory event s/he has been invited to. Here are just a few of the questions that have been driving me crazy all day:
— Was this developing fetus invited to the Roe vs. Wade celebration for any particular reason? Had s/he already displayed an interest in the issue of abortion rights? Or perhaps this is an event that all local fetuses have been invited to, and can be therefore dismissed as so much junk mail to the womb?
— Regardless of the nature of the invite, how was it delivered to the fetus? One presumes that the mother must have played a key role in this process, I suppose by either swallowing it whole or inserting it into her vagina. Does she screen the mail of her unborn child, or simply deliver it indiscriminately and let the fetus sort it out?
— It’s probably a good thing that the fetus does not wish to RSVP, because how would that be done exactly? Has an elaborate morse code-like system of timed kicks been developed between mother and child, so that the latter may convey his or her intentions from the womb? Such a system implies an extraordinary capacity to educate on the mother’s part, unless this is an inherent, instinctual knowledge on the part of the fetus, gained through the collective experience of mail-recieving fetii throughout the last several millenia.
— Even if the fetus is literate, it boggles the mind that s/he could read the invitation, due to the fact that s/he has not yet developed the ability to open his or her eyes! And even assuming the prodigal and exceedingly unlikely acquisition of in-the-womb literary skills (again, barring some sort of instinctual knowledge), it is still a stretch to think that the fetus knows the definition of RSVP. That particular abbreviation is from the French language (“respondes s’il-vous-plait”), and one would assume that if this fetus understands its meaning then s/he has at least a vague awareness of a communication system that exists beyond his or her proverbial “mother tongue”.
— Okay, fine. Let’s give the fetus the benefit of the doubt, and accept that fact that s/he often recieves orally and/or vaginally-inserted invitations to events that exist in a world that is quite literally outside the realm of his or her comprehension. Isn’t this the equivalent of a fully-birthed human recieving a summons to a soiree that is outside the dimensions of space and time? A get-together that requires one to relieve himself of the burdens of the body and travel unshackled to a boundary-less place which cannot be fully grasped by the human mind? That sounds terrifying.
If that is the case, I really think that the invitation would be a source of deep anxiety and unease to all but the most spiritually-grounded fetus. Yet, this little guy/gal looks like s/he’s got the situation under control, idly taking all this in while sucking on a thumb that seems capable of delivering endless hits of some sort of amniotic opiate. Womb weed, if you will.
More power to you, little one. You are an inspiration to all living creatures, born and otherwise.